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Full-Text Articles in Law

Warranties In The Box, James J. White Jan 2009

Warranties In The Box, James J. White

Articles

Thousands of times each day, a buyer opens a box that contains a new computer or other electronic device. There he finds written material including an express "Limited Warranty." Sometimes the box has come by FedEx directly from the manufacturer; other times the buyer has carried it home from a retail merchant. Despite the fact that it is standard practice for the manufacturer to include a limited written express warranty on the sale of such products,' and despite the fact that both the manufacturer and the buyer believe that warranty to be legally enforceable, the law on its enforceability is ...


Partially Odious Debts?, Omri Ben-Shahar, Mitu Gulati Jan 2007

Partially Odious Debts?, Omri Ben-Shahar, Mitu Gulati

Articles

The despotic ruler of a poor nation borrows extensively from foreign creditors. He spends some of those funds on building statues of himself, others on buying arms for his brutal secret police, and he places the remainder in his personal bank accounts in Switzerland. The longer the despot stays in power, the poorer the nation becomes. Although the secret police are able to keep prodemocracy protests subdued by force for many years, eventually there is a popular revolt. The despot flees the scene with a few billion dollars of his illgotten gains. The populist regime that replaces the despot now ...


Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Essay explores an alternative to one of the pillars of contract law, that obligations arise only when there is "mutual assent "--when the parties reach consensus over the terms of the transaction. It explores a principle of "no-retraction," under which each party is obligated to terms it manifested and can retract only with some liability. In contrast to the all-or-nothing nature of the mutual assent regime, where preliminary forms of consent are either full-blown contracts or create no obligation, under the no-retraction regime, obligations emerge gradually, as the positions of the negotiating parties draw closer. Further, the no-retraction liability ...


Mutual Assent Versus Gradual Ascent: The Debate Over The Right To Retract, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Mutual Assent Versus Gradual Ascent: The Debate Over The Right To Retract, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

I ended Contracts Without Consent: Exploring a New Basis for Contract Liability with a reminder that the analysis was "lacking in rigor and in nuance" and that "[i]t remains for future work to explore the extent to which the approach developed. . . has the horsepower to resolve pragmatically the problems that have proven difficult for current doctrine and to examine whether these solutions advance the various social objectives associated with contract formation." Such "future work" arrived sooner than I expected. I have now had the privilege to read the three commentaries that the University of Pennsylvania Law Review solicited, three ...


'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

Incomplete contracts have always been viewed as raising the following challenge for contract law: does the incompleteness-or, "indefiniteness," as it is usually called-rise to such a level that renders the agreement legally unenforceable? When the indefiniteness concerns important terms, it is presumed that the parties have not reached an agreement to which they intend to be bound. This "fundamental policy" is the upshot of the view that "contracts should be made by the parties, not by the courts."' When, in contrast, the indefiniteness concerns less important terms, courts supplement the agreement with gap fillers and enforce the supplemented contract.


Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Symposium explores freedom from contract. When I was preparing to travel from my home in Ann Arbor to the University of Wisconsin where this Symposium was to be held, my 9-year-old son asked where I was headed. I explained that a bunch of people and I were going to meet and talk about freedom from contract, but the boy seemed unsure what this exchange was going to be about. I tried to translate: "It is about making promises that you don't really have to keep." This sounded surprising to him. He raised an inquisitive brow, and I knew ...


Precontractual Reliance, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2001

Precontractual Reliance, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

During contractual negotiations, parties often make reliance expenditures that would increase the surplus should a contract be made. This paper analyzes decisions to invest in precontractual reliance under alternative legal regimes. Investments in reliance will be socially suboptimal in the absence of any precontractual liability-and will be socially excessive under strict liability for all reliance expenditures. Given the results for these polar cases, we focus on exploring how "intermediate"-liability rules could be best designed to induce efficient reliance decisions. One of our results indicates that the case for liability is shown to be stronger when a party retracts from ...


Freeing The Tortious Soul Of Express Warranty Law, James J. White Jan 1998

Freeing The Tortious Soul Of Express Warranty Law, James J. White

Articles

I suspect that most American lawyers and law students regard express warranty as neither more nor less than a term in a contract, a term that is subject to conventional contract rules on formation, interpretation, and remedy. Assume, for example, that a buyer sends a purchase order to a seller and the purchase order specifies the delivery of 300 tons of "prime Thomas cold rolled steel." The acknowledgment also describes the goods to be sold as "prime Thomas cold rolled steel." Every American lawyer would agree that there is a contract to deliver such steel and furthermore would conclude that ...


Form Contracts Under Revised Article 2 (Symposium: Consumer Protection And The Uniform Commercial Code), James J. White Jan 1997

Form Contracts Under Revised Article 2 (Symposium: Consumer Protection And The Uniform Commercial Code), James J. White

Articles

The current draft of section 2-206 in Revised Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") entitled "Consumer Contract: Standard Form"1 presents a unique and threatening challenge to the drafters of consumer form contracts. In earlier drafts, one part of the section applied to both to commercial contracts and consumer contracts. It required that "one manifest assent" to any form contract, commercial or consumer, in order for it to be binding.2 Bowing to commercial opposition in the most recent version, the drafters have omitted all reference to commercial contracts. As the section stands, it applies only to consumer ...


How To Negotiate A Sales Contract, James J. White Jan 1995

How To Negotiate A Sales Contract, James J. White

Articles

A. Introduction 1. In my experience, lawyers begin negotiating only after the business people have decided upon the description and quality of the product, the time of delivery, and the mode and amount of payment. The lawyers are left with the pathological problems - who gets what in case of trouble. 2. Most of those pathological problems relate to the seller's responsibility if the product does not conform to the contract or otherwise fails to please the buyer. These failures can cause economic loss to the buyer, economic loss to a remote purchaser, or personal injury or property damage to ...


The Decline Of The Contract Market Damage Model, James J. White Jan 1988

The Decline Of The Contract Market Damage Model, James J. White

Articles

In law school every American lawyer learns that the conventional measure of damages for breach of a sales contract is the difference between the contract price and the market price. Even before these rules were embodied in the Uniform Sales Act and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), they were a staple of Anglo-American common law. They remain the rules with which a court would determine damage liability not only for the sale of goods, but also for the sale of real estate and securities.


Privity Of Contract And Tort Liability, Herbert F. Goodrich Jan 1922

Privity Of Contract And Tort Liability, Herbert F. Goodrich

Articles

Two parties, A and B, make a contract whereby B undertakes to perform certain services for A. He performs his task in a negligent manner, and as a consequence C, a third party, suffers injury. Has C rights against B?


Is The Assignee Of A Contract Liable For The Non-Performance Of Delegated Duties?, Grover C. Grismore Feb 1920

Is The Assignee Of A Contract Liable For The Non-Performance Of Delegated Duties?, Grover C. Grismore

Articles

IT is an oft recurring statement that "rights arising out of a contract cannot be transferred if they are coupled with liabilities." It is such obscure statements as this which give rise to and perpetuate error, and an examination of the cases will show that this one has been responsible for no little confusion in regard to the matter of assignment in the law of Contract. Our courts, under the pressure of a well filled docket, are prone to seize upon a broad generalization of this kind without examining its true meaning or defining its proper limitations. It is high ...


The Seller's Action For The Price, John B. Waite Feb 1919

The Seller's Action For The Price, John B. Waite

Articles

WHEN a contract of sale has been broken by the buyer, before title has passed according to the usual rules of presumption, there arises the very practical question whether the seller can sue him for the purchase price, as such, or is limited to a suit for damages only. In the latter case his damage may happen to equal the purchase price, but it is usually considerably less than that amount. If the seller can recover the purchase price, as such, it must be because that price is legally due him as a consequence of the contract. The ultimate inquiry ...


Quasi-Contractual Obligations Of Municipal Corporations, Jerome C. Knowlton Jan 1911

Quasi-Contractual Obligations Of Municipal Corporations, Jerome C. Knowlton

Articles

We have constructive fraud, constructive trusts, constructive notice, and why not constructive contract, a contractual obligation existing in contemplation of law, in the absence of any agreement express or implied from facts? With this apology we shall use the term quasi contract as covering an obligation created by law and enforceable by an action ex contractu. We are not for the present interested in the circumstances which may give rise to this obligation as between individuals; nor as between an individual and a private corporation, or quasi public corporation, so-called, as a railroad or other public utility. In these cases ...